Calif. FD receives $500K to build mobile fire training unit
The new unit will be the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District's first dedicated training facility
East Bay Times
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. — East Contra Costa Fire Protection District received a long-awaited $500,000 check Friday to help it build a mobile fire training unit.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Fairfield, presented the check to the fire board nearly two years after he started pushing for the state budget allocation. A state spending freeze and setbacks associated with the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the delay, according to officials.
"Nothing is more important than continuing training assistance for our firefighter personnel, especially in this age of devastating fires," Frazier said in a written statement.
Brian Oftedal, president of the fire board, applauded the additional funding.
"East Contra Costa Fire has never had a dedicated training facility in the history of the organization," he said. "They have always had to be innovative, using dilapidated houses, parking structures, whatever they could find to do the training."
The new dedicated facility will not only allow firefighters to do live fire training but also to practice rescue skills and throw ladders. There will be enough space for mandated emergency medical training as well, Oftedal said.
Although the district has yet to secure a site for the new training tower, Oftedal said it will likely resume talks with Ironhouse Sanitary District to use a portion of its land in Oakley.
"Now that the monies have been secured, we can start that conversation back up," he said.
"With the District's limited resources of only three stations available to respond to fires, our Prevention Division works to eliminate all potential fires within the District," Fire Marshal Steve Aubert said in a statement.
The fire district's three active fire stations — in Oakley Brentwood and Discovery Bay — serve 250 square miles and 128,000 residents. Another fire station has been built on East Cypress Road in Oakley, but the money to staff it has not been available. That station is now projected to open in March 2022 provided Measure X tax money comes through, Oftedal said.
(c)2021 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)